Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Losing a Library
So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died. (Genesis 5:27 NKJV)
Building the Library
“And He died” is the common denominator of the brief obituaries given in Genesis 5. Think of it, some of those names had nearly 1000 years of knowledge and experience.  When they died that knowledge and experience died with them.  Solomon tells us, “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NKJV).”  Do you suppose that they had automobiles, cell phones, space travel, and cutting edge medicine in those years before the flood?  Probably not, but sometimes I wonder how advanced our civilization would be if we lived to be nearly 1000 years instead of about 80.  We spend about 25 years getting an education and wondering what we will be when we grow up, then we spend about 40 years in some kind of productive work, and then we spend about 20 years in retirement mode.  Those retirement years should be the most productive years of our lives since by then we have the knowledge and experience to help others avoid making some of the same mistakes we made.  Older people should be a library from which the younger seek wisdom and counsel. Unfortunately when we die, most of what we know dies with us.  Some are wise enough to write or record some of their experiences.  That is why biographies and commentaries of some of our older respected men and women are so needed.  But with many of us, our library of information dies when we die.
Solomon and Rehoboam
When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam was the next king. He consulted with both the elders who had served his father and the young men who were his friends.  We read, “But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him  (1 Kings 12:8 NKJV).”  As a result, the kingdom was divided and Rehoboam only retained two of the tribes as his kingdom.  He should have listened to the older men and he should have listened to his own father who seems to be giving advice to his son in Proverbs.  He says, “My son, hear the instruction of your father,  And do not forsake the law of your mother  (Proverbs 1:8 NKJV).”  Could he have been instructing Rehoboam before he died?   Rehoboam serves as a bad example.  He did not take advantage of the library of information available to him.
Not Every Older Person has Pure Motives
When Jeroboam set up an altar at Bethel in order to keep his people from going to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, a man of God was sent to Jeroboam to rebuke him.  He had been given a message and a command.   We read, “For so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came (1 Kings 13:9 NKJV).’?”  An old prophet took advantage of him and lied to him in order to get him to come back and eat with him.  He said unto him, “I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. (1 Kings 13:18 KJV).”  
Why he felt compelled to lie to this man of God I do not know.  I could speculate but the old prophet cost the man of God his life.  There are times when we KNOW what the Lord wants us to do and we bow to the pressure of older men who lie to us for whatever reason.  Not every older man is a library of knowledge and information that we should use and this is a case in point.  When the Lord clearly tells us something and someone who should be more knowledgeable than we are tells us something contrary to what the Lord has told us, we need to be smart enough to stick with our own marching orders.  
Following the counsel of older men who have proven their faithfulness to the Lord is Biblical and wise, however.  When they are gone, their wisdom often dies with them.  
Today we hear a lot about “freedom” and “making our own decisions.”  I think the counsel of older men would tell us that when we make our own decisions we usually make bad ones.  Utilizing the counsel of godly older men should help us make the right ones.  I can assure you that one of the right ones is to counsel people to believe the Gospel.  We need to recognize that making disciples as requested by the Lord, means that we preach that man is lost by nature, and that the only way to heaven is through trust in the Lord Jesus.  A Godly older person will tell you that you aren’t ready to live until you are ready to die and you aren’t ready to die until you have trusted the only person that has ever been totally trustworthy.  Fortunately, His library did not get destroyed when he died.  He has told us that He inspired the Holy Scriptures.  That is one library that we need to read and believe.
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the week of September 26, 2010

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